The sons of Vorias and the Harpeyas
THE SONS OF VORIAS
Zitis and Calais, the two sons of Vorias (God of the North wind) and Oreithia, were well-known for their ability to cross the skies at high speeds, as they were winged, like their father.
The two brothers embarked on Argos ship along with the most important heroes of the time and set off for the Argonautic Campaign, in search of the Golden Fleece.
On the way to Iolkos, the Argonauts passed from the kingdom of Phineas, who had married Cleopatra, Zitis and Calais’ sister, to consult him and get information on their journey.
Phineas, except being a king, was also a fortune teller. However, he was a blind man, as a punishment from Zeus, after he had revealed the God's intentions to men. As if that wasn’t enough, Zeus had sent him the Harpeyas, who grabbed his food or spoilt it with their droppings, so that Phineas would always be hungry.
The Harpeyas for the ancient Greeks were demonic spirits that came with the sudden bursts of wind. They had a bird body but a woman's head with creepy features. They were always under the will of Zeus, who sent them to grab people and objects (sudden disappearances of people were often attributed to them), while their task was to hand those who were charged with crimes over to the Erynies in order to be punished.
The Argonauts found the king in a miserable condition, emaciated by hunger. Then Zitis and Calais decided to chase the Harpeyas in order to free Phineas from his torture.
The persecution began from the Bosphorus area and, crossing the entire Aegean Sea and mainland of Greece, reached the Strofathes islands, which, at that time, were still called "the floating islands". Above the islands, Iris (the goddess of the rainbow) was waiting for them and she was the one that stopped them and promised that the Harpeyas would not disturb Phineas again if they let them return to their cave in Crete. Vorias’ sons agreed and turned back.
It was then that the islands were named "Strofathes" islands as the sons of the northern wind turned back and returned to the rest of the Argonauts.
In this way the two brothers redeemed Phineas and he, in order to express his gratitude, revealed the secret that in order to pass through the Symplegathes Rocks (Clashing Rocks) they would have to use a pigeon so that they could carry on with their mission.